And We Wonder Why So Many Women Died

The ongoing saga of the Missing Women’s Inquiry[1] was dealt another blow this week with pictures of Corporal Jim Brown’s sexual activities being uncovered.[2] The pictures showed the RCMP officer in various sexual situations where women were being dominated and demeaned. In one photo, he has a knife to the neck of a woman. While Brown didn’t play a large role in the investigation, these pictures suggest attitudes that likely affected how vigoursly the Coquitlam RCMP pursued the investigation.

Given the culture of the RCMP, one of misogyny and sexism, it is likely that missing survival sex-trade workers from the Downtown Eastside was not given a high priority. The women all poor, mostly Aboriginal, some addicted to drugs were not deemed a high priority. After all the killings went on for at least a decade. Even though the RCMP knew about what was going on at Piggy’s Palace[3] and they had reports from women they didn’t step in to shut it down. There is speculation now that Jim Brown may have even attended some of those parties.

I can almost hear the hew and cry from the BDSM community about these pictures. The argument will go that he is entitled to a private sex life. And, while that may be so he nonetheless had a responsibility to conduct himself in a reasonable manner. Instead he allowed pictures of him to be taken and displayed on an adult website. This would indicate to me that he sees nothing wrong with holding a knife against a woman’s neck or having his boot on a woman’s back. At the least he has questionable values. The values we hold as human beings inform every single part of our life; they guide what we do and what we deem important. In Jim Brown’s world, women are there to be used, abused and degraded.

Clearly the Missing Women’s Inquiry has not even yet begun to scratch the surface of what went so horribly wrong. Why did so many women have to die? This Inquiry needs to be completely scrapped. At a minimum a new process must be set up with impartial legal personnel who come from an anti-oppressive framework that understands the intersections of class, race, poverty, gender and ethnicity. The dead must be honoured and we must learn lessons from what happened. If we do not take this opportunity the next serial killer will be able to operate just like Pickton did.


[1] The Missing Women’s Inquiry was convened to investigate why it took so long to stop serial killer Robert Pickton who has been convicted in the deaths of 6 women and charged with a further 20.

[2] Interestingly the Vancouver Sun only called them ‘racy.’

[3] A place on the Pickton farm where the brothers held ‘parties’ that featured sex-trade workers from the DTES.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. In 2012 we see very little change in the status of the disenfranchised in Canada. To be a woman in this country is to be a second class citizen, but to be a drug addicted Aboriginal woman in the survival sex trade is to be nearly invisible. The terrifying, enraging and sickening thing is that another mass murderer could prey on this vulnerable population and get away with it for more than a decade because as much as society wrings its collective hands and talks about how things need to change, nothing has. And until all women in Canada realize their worth and smash the patriarchy, nothing will change. Sisters need to do it for themselves.

  2. Supposedly there’s been some sloppy journalism on some of the photos (cause Brown isn’t the man holding a knife up to a women’s neck in those images), but the fact still remains that he DID post images of himself dominating women online (just not with knives).

    Either way, the error in this story is rather minor & is being used by many as a red-herring to distract from what he HAS done (ie: compromised the sense of security police officers are -suppose- to provide those who approach them with reports of sexual violence).

    It is shocking how quickly people are to defend this man, and how slow they are to then think about the repercussions of his actions, all the women who will be less likely to report a rape, who will feel unsafe going to the police…

    You better believe the BDSM community is up in arms over this as well. It’s rather frightening how entitled they are to their “freedom of expression” and to not be mistaken as people who are unable to make rational decisions – all arguments which ultimately serve to defend what Brown did. One can only hope the irony isn’t lost on those who who take this stance & prioritize their desires over those who may be victimized by their agenda.

    I hope they can see the ways in which they are undermining the very motto of “Safety, sanity & consensuality” they claim to live by when they ignore the reality of violence women face, because there are women who have HAVE and will CONTINUE to suffer as a result of the poor decisions/inactions of the police…

    • I had not heard yet that it was not Jim Brown in that photo. Why should we expect any better from the Vancouver Sun when according to their headline these photos were deemed ‘racy.’

      • Mm, actually, seems i was incorrect on that bit of information as well, because there ARE images of Jim Brown with a knife (they’re just not part of a Picton-esq photo series) and that was just sloppy reporting from Erotic Vancouver this time round… sigh, oh journalism? Either way, just like before the fact still remains: indicative of so many other problems, whether or not he’s got a blade.

        And yeah – no kidding with the “racy” description. (Way to normalize sexual violence.)


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